Tuesday, March 29, 2016

An Easter Celebration in Tennessee


(This blog post is a little late this week due to a portrait commission I needed to finish. It was a multi-people-animal pastel portrait that was rather challenging. However, it turned out well as the person I did it for seemed to be very pleased with it! Sigh of relief! Thanks for your patience. For more portrait info, please visit www.beckyarnottartist.com )

I'd just like to share with you our recent Easter celebration.

Easter Sunday, we were invited to Bonnie and Doug's for an after-church Easter brunch.

When we first arrived at their lovely home, these pretty blooming flowers immediately captured our attention. The weather has been really perfect this spring in this area of Tennessee for an abundance of beautiful blooming trees, shrubs, and flowers.

"Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life."-S. D. Gordon

There were flowers gracing the inside of the house, as well.

Everything seemed very festive with Easter decorations such as these balloons-

Preparations were still underway in the kitchen for our Easter meal.

In the meantime, everyone seemed to enjoy the appetizers...

as well as the fellowship-

The food looked really good, and some even had interesting names such as "Mary Magdalene" rolls.

We had the blessing before our meal.

The food was delicious, and healthy!

Everyone seemed to enjoy the meal.

Besides Easter, there was another special reason to celebrate, Mike's birthday!

I bet the dog was hoping for some special Easter treats, as well!

Thanks, Bonnie and Doug for this special Easter celebration. It's one we'll always fondly remember.

Easter question-
"Q: How do bunnies stay healthy?
 A: Egg-xercise!"
-Author Unknown

Positive thought: "...make every day a holiday and celebrate just living."-Sydney Smith
Thanks for visiting! Until next Monday, Becky

Monday, March 21, 2016

Acts of Kindness

And, an especially big welcome to spring! (Photo taken at the Homestead Harvest Restaurant. See the 3/13/16 blog post for more info.)

This blog post was inspired by someone who was kind to me when I needed kindness.

Recently, I was having my own private little pity party despite my best efforts to be positive. It was like a black cloud was hanging over my head. I wished that someone would send me a positive email, and not long afterward, guess what? I received a really cute, lighthearted e-card from a supportive, psychic friend which really turned my thoughts and emotions around. After that, several positive things started happening in my life. I couldn't believe the transformation.

If a simple e-card can help someone that much, just think of what we could all do to brighten each others lives, to make this world a better place, one act of kindness at a time!

"Kindness: the most valuable gift you can give someone."
-The Peace and Love Train

There's another person (among others) that I enjoy being around. She's always saying positive things to and about people. Even when she's speaking to a stranger on the phone, she says something positive to that person, like, "You're doing a great job!" Or, she might say, "You're like a ray of sunshine!" to someone. That sort of thing puts people in a good frame of mind that helps them have a much better day, and it also might even influence the people around them in a positive way.

Another time in my life,* I was helped by strangers. Several years ago, my car hydroplaned off the road on a very stormy day in a rural area. I was by myself on the way to an important meeting. Afterwards, my car wasn't working, and I was badly shaken. An elderly couple stopped by to see if I was okay. They were very kind, and helped me make plans about my car, and my meeting. (It was the time before cell phones!) Everything finally turned out well. Although I got to my destination a little late, and I looked a little disheveled, things could have been much worse. I was so thankful for the kind strangers who came to my rescue when I needed help.

I always thought that the nice couple who helped me must have been angels, but they might just have been regular folks who liked giving others a helping hand whenever it was needed. In any case, they were very special, and I'll always be grateful to them.

You might know, if you read my posts regularly, that I'm a big fan of the wonderful magazine, "Woman's World." Well, just recently, I checked their website,  www.womansworld.com . It has some interesting features like "Feel Inspired" which has articles on kindness, as well as other things.

Also, there's a website I really like that gives some unique ideas for showing kindness to others. An excerpt is below.

-"Share overheard compliments."
-"When you see something good, share it...."
-"When people are gossiping about someone, be the person to chime in with something nice."
-"Encourage someone to pursue her dreams."
-"Donate your stuff."
-"Put a surprise note or sketch in with your spouse's or kid's lunch."
(And, there are 92 other ideas!)
-From "98 Random Acts of Kindness-Ideas to Inspire Kindness"

Plus, I'm sure we can be creative and come up with some of our own ideas. as well.

There's also a 2002 book that I'm thinking about getting. It's "Random Acts of Kindness" by The Editors of Conari Press. It has five stars on Amazon.

*Just as I was to this point in writing this post, I noticed it was past time to feed our cats after both of them came and reminded me of the fact. I always clean out their litter pans every time I feed them, but I noticed something different this time. I decided to take a picture of it in the litter pan since it was quite unusual, as you can see. Either our cats are very artistic, or something else is going on! It could very well be an act of kindness sent from a heavenly artist! (Love and kindness never fail!)

Happy Easter!

Positive thought: "Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echos are truly endless."-Mother Teresa
Thanks for visiting! Until next Monday, March 28, 2016, Becky

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Visit to a Park in Late Winter

The weather was so nice here a few days ago that Greg and I decided to go to a park that we've never before visited. Even though it's technically still winter (for just another week!), the spring-like temperatures made it seem like spring was already here.

The park we visited was Cumberland Mountain State Park in Crossville, Tennessee. It's a beautiful park, even in the winter.

Since we live a few hours away, the first order of business for us was lunch. The park has a fantastic restaurant, The Homestead Harvest Restaurant, "which serves Southern cuisine in a comfortable atmosphere," according to the park brochure.

Greg, Outside "The Homestead Harvest Restaurant"

Inside, the large windows offer "a beautiful view of the lake and dam."

There is a large buffet with a wide variety of food.

We were there on '"Crazy Chicken Day" which featured a good selection of different chicken dishes. Each day features different food items.

The restaurant also has a nice gift shop and fine wine.

After our delicious lunch, we enjoyed a stroll around the park, to walk off all of that food we'd just consumed!

The restaurant offers an outdoor dining option, as well.

This is the picturesque dam which also serves as a bridge.

This is The Mill House Lodge which is located near the dam.

There is so much more to see and do here at this fantastic park that we're planning to return this summer. We'll be back to enjoy dining out on the patio and to explore the rest of the park which has a variety of things to do including hiking, boating, swimming, etc.

We believe that any time during the year is the right time to visit beautiful Cumberland Mountain State Park in Middle Tennessee!

Cumberland Mountain State Park
24 Office Drive
Crossville, TN 38555

***Important note: After today, "The Art of Positive Living" blog posts will be published late Monday mornings, starting next Monday, March 21, 2016 unless otherwise noted.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Positive thought: "St Patrick's Day is a enchanted time-a day to begin transforming winter's dreams into summer's magic."-Adrienne Cook
Thanks for visiting! Until Monday, March 21, 2016, Becky

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Weather Talk


I actually had another blog post almost ready for today, but I decided at the last minute to hold that post for a few more weeks. So, when all else fails, as you know, one can always talk about the weather!

"Don't knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn't start a conversation if it didn't change once in a while."
-Kin Hubbard

"If you don't like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes."
-Mark Twain

Although the quote above is credited to Mark Twain, you can find other variations of this saying in several other places in the United States.

For example, where I grew up in Southwest Virginia, I remember Daddy saying the same thing, except that he would refer to the area in which we lived instead of saying "New England."

Where Greg and I live now, in Tennessee, March, this year, came "in like a lion." It was ushered in with a violent thunderstorm. However, the good news for us, then, according to weather folklore, is that March should go "out like a lamb," with mild weather. (Mama also told us that the reverse would be true. If March came in "like a lamb," it would go "out like a lion.")

"March winds and April showers
 Bring forth May flowers."

Here are some more neat old folk weather proverbs and sayings, many of which seem to have some truth to them. You might want to study them and see for yourself how accurate they are-

-"When smoke hovers close to the ground, there will be a weather change."
-"A ring around the...moon means rain or snow coming soon."
-"When leaves show their underside, be very sure that rain betides."
- "Dandelion blossoms close before there will be rain."

-"A sunny shower won't last an hour."
-"The higher the clouds, the better the weather."
-"If a cat washes her face over her ear, the weather is sure to be fine and clear."

"Weather is a great metaphor for life- sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, and there's nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella or choose to dance in the rain."
-Terri Guillemets

"Gentle spring's around the corner,
Waiting just to show her face
And bring us flowers and sunshine.
Winter's almost run his race."
-Gertrude Buckingham

Weather humor: "On cable TV they have a weather channel-24 hours of weather. We had something like that where I grew up. We called it a window."
-Dan Spencer

Positive thought: ..."I wish for you flowers and sunshine, gentle breezes and clear skies, calm seas and rainbows...(and) a life that's rich in adventure."-Mike Dooley, "A Note from the Universe"
Thanks for visiting! Until next Sunday, Becky